Washington, DC - The United States is troubled by reports implicating Burundian security forces in the extra-judicial killing of at least two dozen members of a rebel group after they surrendered in Cibitoke Province in early January. The United States calls on the government of Burundi to fully and credibly investigate these allegations, prosecute any crimes that may have been committed, and hold those responsible accountable.
The United States is also deeply concerned by the increase in irregular detentions and prosecutions of media workers and members of political parties ahead of elections in May, including the recent detention of journalist Bob Rugurika, and continuing due process flaws in the prosecutions of Frederic Bamvuginyumvira and members of the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy youth. These cases raise troubling questions about freedom of expression and the independence of the Burundian judiciary. We urge the Government of Burundi to respect the rights of these individuals and all its citizens to due process of law and to ensure that the judicial process is not politicized. An independent, professional judiciary is a key component of the Burundian government’s stated commitment to having a free, fair, and credible electoral process during this important election year in Burundi.